Parents Worry Over Feeding And Poor Learning, While Government Increases fee, Unity Schools:


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The federal government recently proposed a fee increase of more than 100% for new students attending Federal Unity Colleges, also known as Federal Government Colleges.

The federal government has proposed a fee increase of more than 100% for new students attending Federal Unity Colleges, often known as Federal Government Colleges, across the nation.

The new students are expected to pay N100,000 as opposed to N45,000 paid last year, according to a circular with the breakdown of the fee issued to all principals of Federal Unity Colleges from the Office of the Director of Senior Secondary Education Department of the Federal Ministry of Education with reference number ADF/120/DSSE/I and dated 25th May 2023.

However, this development has unnerved parents who, although admitting that the raise is not too bad, are more concerned with the timing, given the economic woes that Nigerians are currently experiencing as well as the government’s refusal to involve people in such decisions.

The parents added that before raising fees, the federal government should address the difficulties in unity schools.

Murtala Adewale, a parent who talked to Daily Trust, said the increase, particularly for boarding schools, was fair because parents paid N50,000 at the start of the semester, which included housing and meals for the duration of the program.

Sincerely, I don’t believe the cost is excessive to house and feed one child for three to four months, but given the state of the economy, you will be asking someone with three school-age children to pay N300,000. The economic reality will make that too much, he said.

But he said that he is more worried about the kind of education the kids are receiving, stating, “FGC is one of the top academic institutions we used to know back then, but the bar is being lowered.”

The FGC we once knew has changed; as a result, I have chosen to transfer my son from the school to a private institution because his performance there is seriously deteriorating.

He insisted that the issue of declining standards rather than major infrastructure issues confront the school his son attends.

“I could be mistaken, but that’s what I observe in my own child because I was aware of his standards before I brought him to the FGC. However, I’ve decided to take him.

However, he also noted that the quality of instruction in unity schools has decreased, pointing out that in the past, universities and the general public held unity school graduates in high regard since they were thought to have had a quality education.

“However, I currently have a third-grade student who will take the upcoming WAEC, and I’m sure it will surprise you to learn that she has never visited a physics, chemistry, or biology lab. Unity schools are no longer noteworthy intellectually because you should have begun preparing for the WAEC in SS1 and SS2, whereas SS3 is merely a review course, he claimed.

“I don’t know if it is in the area of not enough teachers, not qualified enough teachers, or the supervisory role, because if you have teachers and don’t do proper supervision, obviously they will be preoccupied with other things,” he said. Therefore, unity schools are falling behind intellectually now that they have lost their academic luster.

“I asked my SS2 science kids what electrolysis is when they returned home for the holidays, and they just stared at me. When I brought up another physics issue, they became perplexed and looked at me, claiming that I hadn’t taught them.

Another parent, who wishes to be identified only as Mr. Matthew, claimed that the unification colleges face difficulties and that the kids’ welfare is pitiful and depressing.

“The children’s welfare isn’t anything to brag about, and we literally feed them every day because if you ask the kids when they get home how they ate, they’ll tell you pitiful tales. Along with the things you buy for them, you now have to buy the students’ food because the schools have what is known as Topshop, where the students eat.

He continued, “In the past two to three years, it has evolved into a termly affair, as every term you must purchase all of these items, including the tap head they require, AKT bulbs, cutlass, hoe, rake, air freshener, bleach, Harpic, and dustpan, among others. If you purchase the regular one, your child will not be permitted to enter the school.

Everyone acts as like they have no idea what is happening, and we just keep praying to God to take care of me and keep me from being the bad apple.

“You provided everything they requested, but the kids returned with bed bugs and illnesses. They will claim they have never seen any of the disinfectants and pesticides we purchased for them when you inquire about them. So it’s clear that they gather them and sell,” he stated.

He revealed that the director of secondary education issued a directive and threatened to send the child home with any parent who took the school authority to court since a few people had tried to oppose such things, making it impossible for them to even communicate or protest.

He claimed that everyone in the institution, from the directors to the house matron, has turned the school into a money-making business.

“Your child will suffer if you don’t bribe the matron effectively. If not, your child would continue bathing in cold water till she gets home regardless of the weather, the man said. “We pay for things like warm water for your child to have a bath with and buy flask and feed her.

Michael Magaji, President General of the Unity Schools Old Students Association (USOSA), stated that although they are more concerned about the increase in school fees due to the economic situation, they are still concerned about the state of the schools’ infrastructure and the quality of the teaching staff.

He asked the government to provide parents with a more enticing plan so that those who lack the funds might pay perhaps 50% up front and the remaining amount over the course of the course, making it slightly easier for them than paying the entire amount at once.

Regarding difficulties in the classrooms, he stated: “Infrastructure at unity schools has been a problem for a very long time, and many of them still have incomplete structures. You may occasionally observe that alumni, like us, will support infrastructure development. Some of us have constructed hostels; others have provided classes, etc.

Therefore, we are assisting the government in carrying out that task as well, although government still bears primary responsibility for the schools.

“I want to appeal to the government to invest a good portion of the revenue from subsidy removal into the unity schools, at least for secondary education, so that where parents have lost in the cost of living, let them gain by the quality of education in schools and money should be assigned from the savings for infrastructure,” he said.

“Any increase in fees is easier to justify if the infrastructure is significantly improved,” he continued.

Lekan Adebayo, the national vice president of the National Association of Parents of Federal Unity Schools (NAPAFUS), reacted by stating that although the principals, who serve as the heads of the schools, do their best, the country’s circumstances are challenging. They provide three meals every day for the pupils, and the government has not increased school subsidies.

He argued that the schools were losing their luster, stating that the unity schools had skilled teachers and that the government should devote more resources to funding the educational system.

While adding that PTAs are assisting government efforts, he stated that at one point they had 62 staff members employed and paid by them, some of whom had served as PTA teachers for the previous ten years, but the government had yet to formally accept them.

“All of these have contributed to the teaching in unity colleges being inadequate. But the biggest issue is that academic and food programs are underfunded in schools, he said.

He stated that the group has scheduled a meeting for two weeks from now to address the government’s circular warning parents not to challenge the school administration.

“It should be opposed because it is terribly autocratic and anti-democratic. Why should they threaten to send my child home if I challenge the school’s authority in court? he questioned.

Bem Ben Goong, the director of press and public affairs at the Federal Ministry of Education, responded to the situation by challenging the parents to give documentation of any particular school that has subpar facilities.

Regarding the quality of learning, he claimed that kids take exams like the WAEC, NECO, and others. “Had the standard of the outcomes decreased?

“Unless there is a systemic decrease, it should not be newsworthy if one child is not doing well. We can back this up with statistics.

Infrastructure is something that Unity Schools should not be criticizing because there is extensive infrastructure there, unless they are talking about the management of the infrastructure in which case I will listen to them.

“Parents should not generalize, but rather come in and specify which of the schools they are complaining about.”

He inquired about tuition by stating, “How do you improve the quality of your feeding before you add school fees?”

Regarding the circular, he stated that while there are difficulties in government schools, they are still subject to regulations and will continue to do so.


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